For the last year I have been gathering information about the Shackled City preparing to GM my own instalment of this the first ever Paizo Adventure Path.
I have decided to contribute to the community my own version of a Player's Guide for the campaign as I think it might benefit multiple people. It is my desire that other GM's or even players contribute to this guide making it an even better resource for next players to play the campaign. For that reason I have opted by an open for edition Google Docs document as opposed to other older guides in PDF which are more difficult to contribute to. Feel free to add there your contributions and fix any error you might find.
If I find vandalism towards the guide, I might opt to set the edition permissions only to comments or even close it completely and only allow trusted editors under request.
I have paid special attention to include information for running the campaign in Golarion and under the Pathfinder ruleset and to foreshadow some of the mysteries surrounding Cauldron without going too deep on it.
I hope you all enjoy it and find the guide useful!
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I ran Savage Tide and handed out a similar Player's Guide to the players in my group. Their feedback was, unanimously, that while it was chock-full of useful information, it was much too long.
(1) You don't need to give all that information about classes, archetypes, bloodlines, etc. The players are only interested in their class. YOU, as DM, need that information and can give it to them as they need it.
(2) Traits: Just hand out a single list and ask players to put their names next to the one they want. I don't allow duplicate campagin specific traits, but ymmv.
(3) All fluff material (origins, history, religion) can be incorporated into broadsheets. I purloined the idea from here. Just follow the link, select the module and scroll down to Local Newspapers.
I've modified them quite a bit and use them all the time in all my campaigns now. I use legal sized ivory colored paper (8.5" X 14"). One side is current events (such as the derring-do of the party), notable figures, local produce, Cauldron's churches/high priests, history of races, etc.
The point is to avoid overloading the PLAYERS. Generally, DMs spend way more time on world/campaign building than the players do. We are so in love with our creation that we just want to share it with the players. But the players aren't that into it as a whole. They enjoy the heck out of that specific detail when it is encountered, but they don't want an encyclopedia they have to study ("Hey, isn't this what Knowledge [Local] is for?").
On the back of the broadsheet I place relevant material for either the campaign or the world. On the back of one Cauldron Chronicle is the same city map in your Player's Guide. On the back of one at the beginning of Flood Season is the map of the surrounding area. On the back of another is the name of every week (like Heroes of Might & Magic).
(4) They don't need the list of Cauldron's businesses; but you do.
Again, less is better for players. A player's guide should be, ideally, one double-sided page. If you know your players, they'll sigh and stick it out to maybe five pages, but thirty-six (unless your players are all also DMs) is going to be too long . . . like this post.
|Shackled City Players Guide|
|TOZ's Wandering Eye|
Thanks all, specially Mykull for his ideas. This was more intended as a general guide for everyone to have access to. I applied it specifically to Paizo forums PbP so in-depth was not a problem at all but encouraged by the format.
Nevertheless we took as a group some time to comment onto the details of each PCs before the start. You can check the results of the discussion in this campaign thread. I think it might be interesting as we followed an unusual Double Selection Team Based Recruitment style.
Some thoughts on the results:
- The information resulted in very well tied to Cauldron PC.
- This on turn resulted on very motivated players to follow the scenarios proposed by the adventure.
- The community traits pointed towards long standing main plot lines they are starting to uncover with much curiosity.
- They seem more appealed to interact with those businesses and people that appeared in the guide.
- They (and me myself) keep checking the guide for reference to personalities, organizations and businesses.
We are currently going through book 4 after one year gaming with some extra scenes designed by me to adjust to player background and tastes. We keep advancing at good pace and despite an early drop everybody else seems to be enjoying the game.
All in all, it was plenty of work to gather the info but I think it was worthed. I believe it was also worthed the read by the players.
@ GM Rutseg: I'm curious about your guide's suggested points for building characters.
The compiled hardcover version of SCap suggests 28 points in the 3.5 system. The Pathfinder equivalent is roughly 20 points.
You suggest a PF build based upon 25 points (or possibly 20 points for larger parties).
What was your reason for increasing the PCs' build points?
Considering that PF characters tend to be more powerful than equivalent-level 3.5 characters, I would have thought that 15 points would be sufficient. Paizo's own APs - as opposed to the ones published in Dungeon - and modules assume four PCs with 15-point builds. (Only the PFS scenarios assume 20-point builds.)
The adventures in the AP are very tough combat-wise to the extend the Anniversary Edition considers the adventure a 6 characters party. That is the main reason I suggested for a slightly higher point build.
It is true Pathfinder characters are more powerful, by at least 1 or 2 levels, than 3.5 Core equivalents.
After my experience, I think a 20 points build with 4 characters, or 15 for 6, is doable provided you keep them at the recommended level and they have well optimized characters. If your players are not min-max minded or do not like suffering, I recommend 25 point build for 4 characters, or a 20 point one for 6.